Jim Siergey: The Beats Go On

March 20th, 2018

Your humble and self-appointed Third City dining critic, ever on the lookout for off the beaten path eateries that offer the inquisitive gourmand something exciting, creative and scrumptious to digest, is happy to inform you that I have discovered yet another establishment that appeals to my gustatorial aesthetics.

This new genre-oriented bistro is a “beatnik-style”coffee house/cafeteria cleverly named “The Reality Sandwich Shoppe” and it is delighting Bohemiaphiles all throughout Wicker Park and Bucktown.

Upon my arrival, I was instantly taken with the décor. The statement was dingy-chic, accented by candles affixed to empty wine bottles which stood upon bongo-shaped tables. In fact, the way to request service is by beating a little riff upon the bongoid table. Cool, daddio.

Proper attire is required so make sure your feet are clad in sandals, Birkenstocks, if you’ve got ‘em (and who doesn’t?) and if you enter wearing a coat and tie, the maître d’ will discreetly provide you with the appropriate raiment, a pre-stained sweatshirt.

Upon hearing my hearty pit-a-pat upon the bongo table, a waitress arrived with a menu which, naturally, was written in blank verse. She informed me that when my party and I were ready to order, we should merely “Howl”. Coolsville.

allenginsbergandjackkerouacThe Beats…


The poetic bill of fare provided many enticing entrées from which to choose. I passed on the Maynard G. Krebscakes (They seemed like too much Work!?) and decided upon The Naked Lunch Special. This is an open-toed sandalwich consisting of beret’sed beef on a Dharma bun, complemented by a bowl of Turtleneck soup. Snap! Snap!

My companions also enjoyed the Allen Ginsberger on a Kerouac Seed bun. However, the overwhelming favorite at our table was the Baked Ferlinghetti with garlic sauce. It was the most!

In addition to the standard offerings of espresso and herbal teas, guests can also choose from a variety of Subterranean Homesick Brews. We quite enjoyed the Bohemia Vat 69 and Buddha Lite.

Dessert choices were sparse but the “On the Rocky Road” ice cream was hand-churned and, to use the proper vernacular, crazy, man.

So, don’t be a murgatroid, drop in sometime. You’ll dig it the most.


Editor’s note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Speaking English


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Jim Siergey: Speaking English

March 15th, 2018

“What would you like to watch on the Roku tonight, my dear?”

“You choose. Let’s see what’s available.”

“All righty.”

Flip, flip, flip, flip, flip…

“Look, MacBeth with Judi Dench and Ian McKellen.”

“He died, didn’t he?”

“McKellen? I don’t think so. He was Gandalf!”

“Yes, but he was also Dumbledore.”

“From the Harry Potter films?”


I dare do all that may become a man…”


“Yes, the actor who portrayed him died. I thought it was Ian McKellen.”

“No, he didn’t play Dumbledore. That was someone else. Derek Jacobi?”


“You’re right, he plays Cadfael and, and, that Roman emperor, uhhh, whatisname? You know, from the PBS series based on the Robert Graves books.”


“No, he came before Nero.”


“No, he came after Caligula. Y’know, he became emperor by accident and…”

“I know, I know.”


“Claudius! “I, Claudius” and “Claudius the God”. Jeeze, the books had his name in the titles.”

“Okay, but he didn’t play Dumbledore.”

“Yeah, but it’s some English actor with a similar sounding name. We’ve seen him in a bunch of things. He was “The Singing Detective”.


“Michael Gambon!”

“Yes, he played Dumbledore.”

“But, he isn’t dead.”

“He isn’t? Oh, well.”

Flip, flip, flip, flip, flip…

“I’m gonna look this up. Yep, Michael Gambon played Dumbledore and he is still alive. Hmmm, he replaced the original actor who played Dumbledore…Richard Harris. Richard Harris?”

“THAT’S who died!”


Editor’s Note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Yoko, Yogi, Me

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Randolph Street: Love These Pictures!

March 14th, 2018

1Aimg080Travelin’ ManOakland, CA


These images are from the mid 1970’s.


2Aimg082Catenary–San Francisco


3Aimg084ChinatownSan Francisco


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Jim Siergey: Yoko, Yogi & Me…

March 8th, 2018

While walking through my studio, I kicked something. I picked it up and saw it was one of those flower-shaped plastic reflectors that go around an Italian Christmas light.

What I thought to myself, verbatim, was…

“Heh, the last time I stepped on one of these, it was Yogi’s mask.”

It stopped me in my tracks as I realized–it was a very Yogi Berra-ish thing to say.


Editor’s Note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Ode Upon A Polaroid

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Jim Siergey: Ode Upon A Polaroid

March 6th, 2018

Ridding himself of his long-time buzz-cut and growing a mustache were not the life changers Jerry had expected.

The girls were not flocking to him, much less fawning over him. In fact, despite adopting a devil-may-care attitude and a propensity for leaning seductively in doorways, they were not even paying much attention to him.

He looked down at his burgeoning paunch and decided that what he needed was to get himself into Adonis-like shape. Then, for sure, he would be able to click with the chicks.

He adhered to a strict work out regimen with a weight bench, an elliptical and a stationary bicycle. He cut out starches, except for the occasional pizza and plate of spaghetti but, otherwise, it was all vegetables and quinoa.

PolaroidsiergeyLooking good…


Sporting his newly chiseled physique, carefully trimmed cookie duster and Vidal Sasson-shampooed hair (with conditioner), he strutted his stuff on the avenues, the discos and shopping malls with rosy-hued dreams of catching the eye of any type of feminine company.

To his utter amazement, he remained unnoticed. He had doused himself with Jade East so offending aroma couldn’t be the reason. He couldn’t figure it out so he sat on a mall bench outside of a shuttered Walden’s Books store and pondered his plight.

He came to the conclusion that suave and debonair was not the answer. Girls dig “bad boys”, so that’s what he would become. He rushed out and got a tattoo.

Unfortunately, he chose to get one of a skunk.


Editor’s Note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Big Gulp

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Randolph Street: McKosher

February 28th, 2018

5DSCF8521Abasto–Buenos Aires


Abasto was the fresh fruit and vegetable market in Buenos Aires from 1893 to 1984. The building was restored and became a mall in 1999.








4DSCF8500Indoor Ferris Wheel–Abasto


All photos © Jon Randolph


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Jim Siergey: Big Gulp

February 27th, 2018

One of the easiest jobs to get in the 1970s was a warehouse gig. I had a bunch of ‘em.

No talent or education was needed. One loaded and unloaded trucks, stocked merchandise, filled orders, packed and shipped them. Joyriding on a forklift was even included.

I could relate many a tale about various bosses, workmates and incidents from the several warehouse jobs I had back then but I won’t do it here. I just want to talk about one guy who recently came to mind.

He had the lyrical name of Dick Mitnik. He was in his early 40s. I was in my early 20s. We worked together at Nightingale-Conant.

Earl Nightingale was a motivational speaker in the same vein as Dale “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Carnegie. The warehouse was filled with his records, books and an exciting new product of the American wasteland, cassette tapes.

Dick and I were warehouse drones. Our supervisor, in title only, was the exact opposite of what Earl Nightingale stood for as he was entirely unmotivated.

He was a big moose of a guy who liked to talk loudly and brashly and hunt big game in Casper, Wyoming. His main interest at work was the avoidance of it, something I could relate to but he was being paid a supervisor’s salary while Dick and I did his job.

Dale Carnegie

A positive thinker…


What made it particularly irksome was that the only reason he held this position was because his parents were long-time employees of the company.

But I don’t want to dwell on him, especially since that’s all there was to him. Dick was a bit more interesting.

As I said, Dick was in his early 40s. He was a thin, wiry guy with a greasy 1950s-style pompadour, no upper teeth and smoked liked a chimney, Salems, if I recollect correctly. Over almost every weekend he claimed to have polished off a fifth or two of whiskey and a case of beer. Oh, and he had six kids, which may explain the excessive drinking and smoking.

Dick was rather hyperactive, at least compared to lethargic me. He always had to be doing something and the fact that our supervisor never had any agenda to be filled except to be almost always absent from the section of the warehouse we worked in, didn’t help Dick’s need to be active.

Our inventory was in a shambles. It took a long time to find items needed to fill orders so Dick took it upon himself to resurrect and put it in order. Being the only other employee in our area, I unexcitedly assisted. It is also how I learned more about the man.

He told me that he played in the minor leagues for a few years in the mid-‘50s. His stories about that period were mainly ribald tales about horny young men although he would occasionally drop a familiar name or two.

He also knew a lot about movies, in particular, ones from the 1940s, as well as the actors and actresses from that time. Since I did and still do enjoy films from that period, we had enjoyable discussions about that as we toiled away. He also knew a lot of juicy “Hollywood Confidential”-type gossip from that period.

That was not the extent of his film interest. He was also quite the authority on the current adult film actresses and actors and the films in which they starred. I received quite a broad cinematic education during that time I worked with Dick.

Recently reading an article about some fellow who could consume vast amounts of beer is what brought up this memory of Dick Mitnik. When he and I would occasionally go over to a nearby Lou Malnati’s for pizza and beer, I was amazed at what Dick could do.

Perhaps many seasoned drinkers can do this but it was the first, and only, time I have witnessed this act.

Dick would pick up a glass of beer, raise it to his lips and within seconds return the glass to the bar top, completely drained.

In my estimation he was, and I think he might be amused at the reference, the Linda Lovelace of beer drinking. Gulp, indeed.


Editor’s Note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was At The DMV


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